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On-Call Time Pay under California Wage and Hour Laws


On-call time is a common aspect of many professions, requiring employees to be available to work if needed, even when they are not actively working. In California, the regulations regarding on-call time pay are designed to ensure that employees are fairly compensated for their time and availability. In this blog, we will explore the concept of on-call time pay, its applicability, and the relevant regulations under California wage and hour laws.

What is On-Call Time Pay?

On-call time pay refers to the compensation provided to employees for the time they are required to be on-call and available to work, even if they are not actively working during that time. This compensation is intended to recognize the inconvenience and restrictions that on-call duties can place on employees’ personal time and activities.

Applicability of On-Call Time Pay

In California, on-call time pay is governed by the Industrial Welfare Commission Orders, particularly Orders 4 and 7, which outline the regulations related to on-call time pay. These regulations apply to non-exempt employees who are required to be on-call and available to work, even if they are not ultimately called in to work.

It's important to note that the rules related to on-call time pay may vary based on an employee's classification as exempt or non-exempt, as well as their industry and job responsibilities.

On-Call Time Pay under California Wage and Hour Laws

Under California wage and hour laws, the key provisions related to on-call time pay include:

  • Compensation for On-Call Time: If an employee is required to be on-call and is restricted from using their time for personal purposes, they are generally entitled to on-call time pay. This applies even if the employee is not ultimately called in to work.

  • Rate of Pay: The rate of on-call time pay can vary based on the specific circumstances and industry, but it is typically based on the minimum wage rate for the time spent on-call.

  • Exceptions: There are exceptions to the requirement for on-call time pay, such as when employees are merely required to leave word at their home or with an answering service where they can be reached.

  • Agreements and Policies: The existence of specific agreements or company policies related to on-call time pay can also impact an employee's entitlement to compensation for on-call time.


In conclusion, understanding on-call time pay under California wage and hour laws is essential for both employers and employees. It ensures that employees are fairly compensated for their time and availability, and provides guidelines for employers to follow when implementing on-call schedules and compensation practices.

Employees should be aware of their rights regarding on-call time pay, while employers should ensure compliance with the relevant regulations to avoid potential legal issues. By familiarizing themselves with these regulations, both parties can contribute to a fair and equitable work environment.

It's important to note that wage and hour laws and regulations are subject to change, so it's advisable for both employers and employees to stay updated with the latest developments to ensure compliance with the law.

By adhering to the regulations and understanding the rights and obligations surrounding on-call time pay, both employers and employees can contribute to a fair and respectful work environment in accordance with California wage and hour laws.


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